No matter what age you are, strong legs are the key to steadiness.
One of the most important exercises in retaining balance and strength as people age is the squat. I always tell my clients that we do all these squats so that they do not need help getting off the toilet when they get older. Squats also let allow you to get down on the floor to pick things up or get down to play with young children or grandchildren.
A common misconception is that squats are bad for your knees or joints. Not having full range of motion in your joints is bad for your body, so using squats to increase mobility is great for the body and improving strength. One of my favorite examples of this is watching toddlers play on the ground. Most often they will sit in a perfect little squat that they get into naturally and move around without any fuss.
Squats, when done correctly and with purpose can strengthen the ankles and core muscles as well. With so many different variations of the squat – Single leg squats (pistol squats), Side squats, Jump squats, Back squats, Goblet squats, Split squats – there is not much chance of boredom with this exercise.
When performing a squat proper form if important for safety and gaining the benefits of the exercise. Standing with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed slightly out for comfort; keep your back parallel to your shins and chest up; sit back as if sitting in a chair. When standing back up push your hips forward and stand to a full upright position.
Some keys to watch out for are keeping your heels on the floor. If you can’t keep them down there is most likely some mobility issues that you need to work on, but should not keep you from continuing to practice squatting, just modify by going as low as you can and until your mobility improves. Keeping your knees behind your toes is something to consider as well, but keeping your heels down will keep your knees from coming forward to far.
If you have any questions or concerns please reach out of any of the fitness specialists on the fitness floor or work with a personal trainer to help you perfect and use this great exercise in all of your workouts.